In December 2021, the Data Standards Authority (DSA), part of the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO), published a case study about how NHS Digital used API (Application Programming Interface) management to support APIs at scale.
The case study focuses on a project by NHS Digital’s API team, which aimed to “make integration easier” for developers looking to connect to NHS Digital services. It explores how the team used an API management platform to centralise authorisation, documentation and support. The team also took the opportunity to modernise and improve some of these specific areas as well. For example, they published documentation online for the first time to make it easier to access and manage. Additionally, the team rolled out 24-hour support, since many of the APIs on the platform support critical healthcare services.
The case study also outlines the team’s work to redevelop the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) API as an exemplar to showcase the management platform’s capabilities. They built the new PDS API as a RESTful API, and also introduced other modernisations such as serving the API over the open internet and using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard for healthcare technology.
Working together to build the case study
The DSA, which is responsible for central government API guidance, produced this case study as part of our goal to promote the use of APIs across the public sector.
Throughout the process, we worked closely with NHS Digital by:
- interviewing Tony Heap, the product manager for API Management at NHS Digital, to understand the project’s objectives, as well as its challenges and outcomes
- sharing each iteration of the draft with Tony and his team to fact check and finalise the content
- involving Comms teams from both CDDO and NHS Digital to make sure there were no concerns about what we were publishing
Who this case study helps
If you’re a product owner, technical lead or another kind of technologist working on a team that builds and runs APIs, this case study will help you:
- learn, from a real-world example, about some of the considerations and implications involved in implementing API management in a project or organisation
- gather evidence of the impact and value of API management, to provide to stakeholders
Read the full case study and share your thoughts and feedback with us by emailing the DSA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell your story through case studies
If your team or organisation has a project, initiative or program that could help others in the public sector, a case study could be a great way to showcase your learnings and outcomes for teams to learn from.
To get an idea of what makes a good case study, check out the technology case studies. You can also contact the Case Studies team by emailing email@example.com or join the #technology-case-studies channel in the cross-government Slack community.